“Obviously, we wish Solyndra hadn’t gone bankrupt,” Obama said. “But understand: This was not our program per se.”
“Congress — Democrats and Republicans — put together a loan guarantee program because they understood historically that when you get new industries, it’s easy to raise money for start-ups, but if you want to take them to scale, oftentimes there’s a lot of risk involved, and what the loan guarantee program was designed to do was to help start up companies get to scale,” he said. [Oopsy, another faux statement by our President]
I took many facts for this post from The Washington Post because they are Obama campaign workers more than they are a free press. I believe this gives credibility to the points I make in the article – Obama is a crony socialist or corporatist, which you prefer. The commentary is largely mine.
If you are wondering what Obama knew about Solyndra and when he knew it, the recently released emails prove he had ongoing knowledge from the time of investment, which coincided with Solyndra’s faltering prospects, to the time they increased the loan with taxpayer money, not because they cared about taxpayers, but because of fears that Solyndra was going to crash and burn and it would look bad for the administration.
Solyndra was a crony corporate venture which Obama used for political gain. It is another good reason why government needs to stay out of private enterprise – they’re bad at it. They need to stay out of healthcare too. They won’t care about our health, they will care about the bottom line more than any insurance company because insurance companies can at least be sued.
Crony Capitalism, Crony Corportism, Crony Socialism*** is a capitalist society based on the close relationships between businessmen and the state. Instead of success being determined by a free market and the rule of law, the success of a business is dependent on the favoritism that is shown to it by the ruling government in the form of tax breaks, government grants and other incentives.
Most emails surrounding the Solyndra fiasco are out and none of them put Obama and his minions in a good light. They show a fully engaged Obama making poor decisions because he was primarily interested in looking good politically and far less interested in the way taxpayer money was being used.
Obama used his office to push for the solar company. While he was all over Solyndra, there’s no proof of pressure, though subtle pressure was obviously there. If you had a company reliant on the government for your existence, who would you serve as master?
The emails show an unwavering focus on promoting Solyndra and clean energy. WH officials say that the Solyndra loan was granted on its own merits [which were few].
“What’s so troubling is that politics seems to be the dominant factor,” said Ryan Alexander, president of Taxpayers for Common Sense, a nonpartisan watchdog group. “They’re not talking about what the taxpayers are losing; they’re not talking about the failure of the technology, whether we bet on the wrong horse. What they are talking about is ‘How are we going to manage this politically?’ ”
The emails show that Obama rather recklessly ignored advice to avoid political problems. He wouldn’t replace incompetent managers and he insisted on visiting Solyndra.
“Everything disclosed . . . affirms what we said on day one: This was a merit-based decision made by expert staffers at the Department of Energy,” White House spokesman Eric Schultz said in a statement
“When Solyndra’s liquidity crisis became clear, the Department of Energy underwent a robust effort to find a viable path forward for the company,” the White House’s prepared statement said. “This administration is one that will fiercely fight to protect jobs even when it’s not the popular thing to do.”
That’s clothing it rather nicely, but the real basis of their involvement was political.
Obama’s handlers emails show they butted into the company’s business even to the point of telling them how solar panes should be displayed. They told the CEO not to wear a suit. They told another exec he should wear a hard hat and a white smock. They told blue-collar employees to wear everyday work clothes, to keep that “construction-worker feel.” [WaPo]
Obama’s visit to Solyndra and his touting of the need for government to take charge of private enterpriseis evident in this video –
WaPo: Two days before Obama’s fundraiser/visit, Steve Westly, a fund manager speaking for a number of Obama supporters, warned Valerie Jarrett that he should not come. He told Jarrett that Solyndra’s future was growing dim and it would attract “media attention.” [Jarrett has to be the worst adviser in modern history. Her arrogance and ignorance are in constant competition.]
“The president should be careful about unrealistic/optimistic forecasts that could haunt him in the next 18 months if Solyndra hits the wall,” Westly wrote.
He wasn’t the only one who warned of the risk –
One staffer at the Office of Management and Budget suggested to a colleague that the visit could “prove embarrassing to the administration in the not too distant future.” Even Ron Klain, Biden’s chief of staff, acknowledged “risk” in the trip.
Obama and company ignored the warnings because the DOE said their policy was sound and Solyndra’s problems were temporary. The DOE is Obama’s bad – he appointed all of the top people.
Again, the government should not be using taxpayer money to invest in private enterprise. This wasn’t so much about providing some subsidies or loans as it was a complete infusion of politics into a private venture.
After Obama’s embarrassing trip, he hung a photo of his visit in the West Wing.
Solyndra continued to fall apart and by the end of the year, investor’s pushed for bailout plans. Solyndra execs wanted help from the “Bank of Washington,” actually it should have been the “Bank of the Taxpayer’s Pockets.”
By the end of 2010, Solyndra board member Steve Mitchell said the DOE did not have the political might to give them additional loans.
“The DOE really thinks politically before it thinks economically,” Mitchell concluded.
Solyndra realized they had to lay off workers. The DOE said to hold off until after the contentious November 2010 midterm elections, which endangered Democratic control of Congress. It wasn’t about the good of the company – our company.
“No announcement till after elections at doe [sic] request.”
Investors concerns increased and their concerns fell on the deaf WH ears –
Investors started complaining in emails that decisions were being made by the WH to avoid looking “bad.” A December 2010 email from administration officials’ staffers said that “a meltdown” at Solyndra “would likely be very embarrassing for DOE and the Administration.”
“An outside energy adviser foresaw serious political damage, writing to senior West Wing officials in February to warn that because federal loans went to companies linked to Obama donors, a wave of Republican attacks “are surely coming.” He recommended that Obama consider replacing Energy Secretary Steven Chu and his deputies, perhaps with a bipartisan management team.” [WaPo]
The founder was not competent and still the WH didn’t listen –
A Solyndra board member said that the founder, Chris Gronet, made mistakes that “border on moronic” and he hinted that Gronet survived only because he was tight with Energy Department leaders and because he had “star power in D.C.”
“The optics of a Solyndra default will be bad whenever it occurs,” an OMB staff member wrote to a colleague. “If Solyndra defaults down the road, the optics will arguably be worse later than they would be today. . . . In addition, the timing will likely coincide with the 2012 campaign season heating up.” [WaPo]
Solyndra played the political game and the WH was immersed in it. Solyndra’s lobbying firm, McBee Strategic Consulting, emphasized that they had to “socialize” with leaders in Washington and to mobilize a lobbying effort described variously as quiet, surgical and aggressive.
Last November, President Obama said neither he nor WH officials discussed Solyndra with George Kaiser, a billionaire Obama donor and chief investor in the bankrupt Solyndra, even though Kaiser visited the WH17 times during that time period of loans and bankruptcy
George Kaiser was heavily involved. The Kaiser’s family foundation owned more than a third of the solar panel company, and Kaiser immersed himself in its operations. The left is now trying to say that Kaiser is a big Repub supporter which of course is not true, certainly not in this case.
Kaiser flew to Las Vegas to help the party two days before the 2010 election. He was a guest at a private fundraising dinner for Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (Nev.), and he was awarded a seat next to Obama. He spent the time complaining about cheap Chinese solar panels and went on to Solyndra. He pushed the “Buy American” angle. The “great entrepreneur,”
Obama. heard what he wanted to hear and responded accordingly with our money. What happened to his vow to rid DC of lobbyists?
Ninety percent of the 1100 fired employees remain unemployed.
No one bought Solyndra and they are auctioning off their carelessly stored products bought with taxpayer dollars.
Kaiser and other Obama donors are first in line to receive money from the sale. Taxpayers are last in line. It appears that Solyndra only has to pay $24 million of the $527 million they borrowed and taxpayers will receive very little, if any, of that money. [Taxpayers shafted by Solyndra payback]
Don’t you love how they invest our money? It’s not about the taxpayer, it’s about their political power. This defines the current administration. You should be shuddering in fear right now at Obama’s most recent quote:
“I said, I believe in American workers, I believe in this American industry, and now the American auto industry has come roaring back. Now I want to do the same thing with manufacturing jobs, not just in the auto industry, but in every industry. I don’t want those jobs taking root in places like China, I want those jobs taking root in places like Pueblo.”
Read the story at WaPo: Poltics Infused Obama energy programs and Friday – Solyndra email dump and Crony Socialism and Geithner wants more Solyndras and Remember the robots and What it means to be crony socialists
*** Crony capitalism is a term describing an economy in which success in business depends on close relationships between business people and government officials. It may be exhibited by favoritism in the distribution of legal permits, government grants, special tax breaks,and so forth. Free-market advocates refer to governmental favoritism as “crony socialism,” ”venture socialism” or “corporatism,” a modern form of “mercantilism” to emphasize that the only way to run a profitable business in such systems is to have help from corrupt government officials. In this view, high levels of interaction between corporations and governments are considered socialist, which is taken to its maximum in the form of nationalization of industries.